Rick Turley and Barbara Jones Brown on “Vengeance is Mine: The Mountain Meadows Massacre and Its Aftermath” (2023)

Date: January 31, 2023 (Season 5, Episode 7: 75 minutes long). Click here for the BuzzSprout version of this Speak Your Piece episode. Are you interested in other episodes of Speak Your Piece? Click here. The episode was co-produced by Brad Westwood and Chelsey Zamir, with sound engineering and post-production editing by Jason T. Powers, from the Utah State Library Recording Studio.

Above photo caption: This photo was taken on March 23, 1877, one of a series taken of the execution of John D. Lee (who is to the left, sitting on his soon-to-be coffin) by James H. Fennemore, one of the famed photographers of John Wesley Powell’s second expedition down the Colorado River (1871-1872). Photo courtesy of the Utah State Historical Society.

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Caption: John Doyle Lee was a Mormon pioneer, U.S. Indian Sub-agent in Iron County, and one of the central figures in the massacre. Lee was the only person executed for the crimes committed as part of the massacre. Photograph courtesy of the Utah State Historical Society.

This episode of Speak Your Piece is an interview with Barbara Jones Brown, director of Signature Books, and Richard E. Turley, Jr., former assistant Church Historian of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, on their book Vengeance is Mine: The Mountain Meadows Massacre and Its Aftermath (Oxford University Press), to be released May 30, 2023, with SYP host Brad Westwood. This book is a sequel to the 2008 Massacre at Mountain Meadows (Walker, Leonard and Turley). In Vengeance is Mine, the authors exhaustively cover the motives that led to the massacre at Mountain Meadows of the 120-plus victims, followed by the complex aftermath that includes cover-up attempts with the entirety of the blame placed on the neighboring Paiutes, as well as governmental and political intrigue. Also detailed are the delayed, if not coordinated, efforts to obstruct justice in indicting the nine key individuals involved. 

Caption: Mountain Meadows Massacre-Marker, photo by Oliver Sigurdson. Gift of Juanita Brooks. Used in the Utah Historical Quarterly, Spring, 1967. Photograph courtesy of the Utah State Historical Society. The LDS Church owns and seeks to preserve and memorialize the Mountain Meadows site.

Caption: Co-authors Barbara Jones Brown and Richard E. Turley, Jr. at the recording of this SYP episode on January 31, 2023.

Bio: Barbara Jones Brown, director of Signature Books (a regional publisher specializing in published titles about Utah, Mormonism, and Western Americana). Prior to directing Signature Books, Jones Brown was executive director of the Mormon History Association, and historian for BetterDays 2020. Photograph courtesy of Fromthedesk.org.

Bio: Richard E. Turley Jr. was a long-time executive director and later assistant church historian for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, and a co-author of Massacre at Mountain Meadows. He is the recipient of numerous awards, including the American Historical Association’s Herbert Feis Award and the Historic Preservation Medal from the Daughters of the American Revolution. Turley also represented relatives of the Mountain Meadows Massacre victims in their successful petition of the federal government to grant National Historic Landmark status for the site. Photograph courtesy of Fairlatterdaysaints.org.

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